The Marietta Rainbow Festival returns July 25-28 for the third annual Pride festival for the north Atlanta suburb. Hosted by the North Georgia Rainbow Coalition and LeBuzz, this year’s four-day event promises to be a family-friendly celebration of LGBT pride.

More than 100 entertainers are scheduled to perform, and organizers hope more than 5,000 people will attend the fest during its four-day run.

The party kicks off Wednesday, July 25, with the roast of Charlie Brown. Local entertainers and people who have worked with the drag performer will be on-hand to offer colorful remarks on the local legend’s career.

Thursday night at LeBuzz will be Ladies’ Night and Friday night will feature local performers and special guests at the OTP bar.

Saturday, the event moves outside to the parking lot of LeBuzz and other businesses in the bar’s shopping center.

“Last year went very smoothly for us,” said Johnathan Murphy, North Georgia Rainbow Coalition president and owner of LeBuzz. “The first year I was pretty nervous about everything.”

Murphy said this year’s festival would feature a family-friendly kid zone, live music, vendors, a flea market, 10 food trucks and other festivities, all with a circus-theme.

The theme for this year’s bash, “Circus,” is inspired by the now traditional Divas Cabaret show that caps the festival.

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Lost-n-Found Youth.

“If we make our goal, then it will do a lot of good for them,” Murphy said. “I’d like to donate at least $5,000. I’m hopeful, but we’ll be happy with whatever we can get them.”

Marietta Pride is held on private property, Murphy added, meaning that the event is not held in conjunction with the city like many of Georgia’s Pride festivals.

“We kind of feel like the lone ranger,” Murphy said. “We don’t have any grants, outside funding or endorsements. We’re just average folks, so everything we do, we fundraise and pay for.”

For Murphy and the North Georgia Rainbow Coalition, hosting the now annual event is easier than it was two years ago, but certain challenges remain.

“Each year we learn a little more,” Murphy said. “At the end of the day, the entire thing is about people coming together, having a great time, forgetting their problems, taking any money that we raised and giving it to a good cause.”

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